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Nov. 3 – Minneapolis airport
Puffy eyes were the only thing I thought about as I walked through the airport like a zombie. Again, I was traveling solo, admittedly my favorite travel companion — my erratic and emotional self.
The crowd around me at gate H6 is anxious. Most are catching a connection in Reykjavik and are worried they’ll miss it due to the weather delays. I know this because there was a sea of grumbles when the flight attendant announced our flight’s delay. Her podium of knowledge was quickly swarmed by these anxious travelers inquiring whether they would successfully make their connection.
But not me. Expertly, I sprawled out on one of the few benches without armrests. From my previous travels, I now understand that these benches are a form of airport currency. If you are comfortable, you hold the upper hand. Greedy? Maybe, but I didn’t complain as the chorus of negativity was drowned out by my whimsical dreams.
Lucky me. There’s no passenger in the middle seat, plus I scored a highly coveted window seat, next to the noisy airplane’s engines, but still.
The Danish man next to me was equally as excited and we promptly transformed the vacant seat into a makeshift coffee table/storage bin to hold our pesky in-flight essentials.
The plan was to sleep, but my brain kept running aimlessly. Last minute worries ricocheting off the walls of my cranium. I desperately wanted to sleep those six hours in hopes to acclimate to the sudden warp in my sense of time that I was soon about to endure. Yet, “Wonder Woman” and “Gilmore Girls” beckoned me.
Nov. 4 – morning, 7 a.m.
Iridescent. That’s how I would describe Iceland. Especially when the sun finally peeks over the horizon.
As I drove my seemingly retro rental car away from the airport, I focused on navigating the unknown terrain and tried to translate Icelandic roadsigns, which all looked like gibberish to me.
That iridescent quality first hit me as I cruised by a small fjord where a quaint fishing village took root. The town’s lights sparkled and glowed vibrantly in the fleeting twilight. The water started to warm and cast a glimmer and highlight onto the docked fishing boats.
Replicas of this villages sprouted on each turn heading northward on the Ring Road. They became more vivid and awake as the sunrise broke across the sky.
Without warning, snowcapped mountains eclipsed my view and gained loft with the sunrise backlighting the peaks. The sunrise seemed to linger, almost as if this was my own personal welcome to Iceland. To say this moment was anything short of magical would be a lie.
I finally found wifi in what seems to be a community that popped up overnight.
A modern, concrete coffee shop entices visitors into the small town which has more churches than homes and businesses. Ironically, the church provided me with my blessed wifi.
Before reaching the village of Reykholt, I spent the afternoon napping sporadically on the roadside. I mustered enough energy to take one adventurous hike that ended in utter disappointment.
The Ceed-kick (what I have nicknamed my rental car) and I then journey to my home for the evening. We maneuvered pothole-infested dirt roads that were the foreground of endless Icelandic farmscapes. Hundreds of long-haired sheep and horses frolicked in their fields.
Yet, these farmscapes weren’t the focal point of this painting. They only served as the middle ground. Behind them were waterfalls etching crevices into the ancient lichen-colored rocks that towered over the quaint farmsteads.